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Fei Zhong Plots to Depose the Queen
|Princes Take Flight→ →|
|Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing|
This chapter is titled "Fei Zhong Plots to Depose the Queen". Following Queen Jiang's arrival at the Fairy Longevity Palace, she was approached by Daji with a single courteous bow before being escorted into the court. With the king thus fully enjoying the night by his queen's side, Daji began to dance with great eloquence and beauty. Not enjoying this stay by her husband's side, Queen Jiang reprimanded King Zhou for his continued deludeness—and thus left the personal chambers of the court. Being rather angry and depressed over the queen's sudden words, King Zhou asked his precious Daji if she could dance once more to his delight. Falling to the floor with tears in her eyes, Daji exclaimed her worry towards the kingdom if the queen reported her actions to other ministers and nobles -- resulting in her own death. The king, now exceedingly angry, ensured to Daji that he would dispose of the queen shortly to ensure her safety. On the first day of the following month, Queen Jiang received congratulations from the royal concubines as a monthly custom. With Daji prostrating herself before the Queen, she was thoroughly humiliated over the former's words before taking her own leave. For being rebuked by the Queen so wrathfully in front of two other concubines, Daji discussed with Gun Juan, her maidservant, about how Queen Jiang should effectively be killed and replaced. As King Zhou and Daji enjoyed the scenery of the gardens the following day, Fei Zhong attained a report on Daji's lust to kill Queen Jiang and thus pondered through night and day to think of a method—lest he were to be eventually killed for refusing her decree. Gazing outside his window, Fei Zhong noticed a tall bulky man by the name of Jiang Huan of East Lu that had come to repay the former with due respect and gratitude for his past consideration. With a plan now formed in his mind upon the latter's arrival, Fei Zhong immediately told Jiang Huan what to do while informing Daji in addition. After being told to attend state affairs the following day by Daji, King Zhou was suddenly attacked by a disguised Jiang Huan—saying he shall replace his own father as king for the sake of the Shang Dynasty's preservation. As Jiang lashed at the king with his dagger, he was brushed back immediately by royal guards and effectively captured.
Once Fei Zhong volunteered to personally interrogate the captive on the issue upon the entering of the Grand Hall, he reported to King Zhou shortly that the latter was a general under the Eastern Grand Duke—Queen Jiang's father. This duke had been ordered by Queen Jiang to put the king to death so that he could take the throne. After thus appointing Concubine Huang as Chief Justice for this case, King Zhou angrily charged back into the Fairy Longevity Palace asking about the issue with countless ministers. Not attaining any true knowledge of such a complicated incident, King Zhou passed an oral decree via the court herald onto Queen Jiang stating that she is to appear at the West Palace for trial immediately. Following her arrival at the palace, Queen Jian pleaded her innocence personally to Lady Huang. As the former's words were accurately told to King Zhou himself, Daji came forth from the shadows stating that the queen is simply pushing her own blames upon others with additional falsehood. It was thus decided that if Queen Jiang didn't confess the truth about the matter, one of her eyes would be gauged out as punishment. Lady Huang, who immediately ran to the Queen telling her to confess a false statement, simply gazed forth as a royal guard plucked one of the latter's eyes out after refusing the former's request with due resolve. King Zhou, who became fearful of an attack by the Eastern Grand Duke or great condemnation from his ministers, was told by Daji that Queen should most reassuringly tell the truth after having her hands burnt to ashes by a boiling brass dipper. As such an action was resentfully decreed by the king, Queen Jiang sternly refused once more to confess any such crime -- and thus lost her hands to the dipper in short time. Regaining her strength after watching such a cruel scene, Lady Huang informed the king about her continued reluctance. In the former's great worry, Daji suggested to the king that Queen Jiang should be brought together to be tried with the accused Jiang Huan.